In praise of Letraset

When I was sitting in a particularly tedious presentation the other day involving far too many PowerPoint slides, I found myself reminiscing about my father creating diagrams for presentations using Letraset and then photographing the diagrams to create slides.  This, as you might imagine, was a real pain and so presentations tended to have far fewer slides.  Was the quality of presentations better in the good old days?  Probably not, but at least people were spared the spectacle of someone trying to get through 40 slides in a 20 minutes presentation.  We have all been there.

In the mildly amusing book,  Is it just me or is everthing shit? the entry on Powerpoint reads:

“A Microsoft computer program which makes people think and talk shit”.  

I can’t help thinking that there is some sense in this.  Technology makes lots of things easier, but this ease of production causes a corresponding decrease in quality.  some examples:

  • Mobile phones make it much easier to meet up, but people never make proper arrangements any more
  • Bloated coding creating unwieldy applications (e.g. anything by Microsoft).  This never happened in the days when code was typed out from magazines (yes I did do this as a child)
  • Emailing lots of people at once, most of whom won’t be interested
  • The proliferation of shit ebooks

Whilst I’m not advocating a return to the past, is it too much to expect that we can learn from it?  The very sensible Swiss might be onto something with the anti-powerpoint party.


Comment on “In praise of Letraset”

  1. Stephen Ginn says:

    Before PP when I went to lectures there was a fighting chance you’d write down the bulk of what the person was saying as they’d often write on the blackboard, slowing themselves down.  Now PP slides are clicked through too quickly to allow notetaking and the handout makes no sense even 24 hours later. 

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